ORANGEBURG, SC - The reviews are in following the first Democratic Presidential debate last night in Orangeburg, South Carolina. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson showed why his extensive diplomatic and foreign policy experience and accomplishments as a Congressman, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Energy Secretary, and two-term Governor make him the best qualified candidate for President.
"The State" newspaper in South Carolina said Governor Richardson was one of two candidates who "stood out with clearly stated positions and deft handling of a few tough questions". That was just one of the many reports today praising the Governor's performance in the debate and his impeccable and unequaled experience and credentials.
Debates like this give candidates the opportunity to showcase their experience and abilities and allow the public to evaluate their ability to be President based on substance, not on hype or popularity polls.
During the 90 minute debate Governor Richardson defined the differences with the other Presidential candidates on a number of critical issues facing America:
"This war is a disaster. We must end this war.
This is what I would do if I were president today. I would withdraw all of our troops, including residual troops, by the end of this calendar year. I would use the leverage of that withdrawal, coupled with intensive diplomacy in three areas: One, a political framework led by the United States where the three religious entities in Iraq have a coalition government, divide oil revenues, and possibly set up three separate entities.
Number two, I would convene a security conference, and I would invite Iran and Syria. They're going to be tough, and we should be tough with them. But we have to have an international peacekeeping effort.
And thirdly, I would have a donor conference. I would have other countries take over the reconstruction responsibility and the security of Iraq."
"In our health care plan, my new health care plan, no new bureaucracy. Every American shares, along with businesses, the state and the federal government. I would focus on prevention. I would also ensure that the first thing we do is deal with bureaucracy and inefficiencies in our health care system. Thirty-one percent of our health care goes to inefficiencies in bureaucracy. If we had a health information system where doctors and nurses could share information about health care, we would save billions of dollars. I would also make sure that we would reestablish the doctor-patient relationship, eliminate those in the middle like HMOs and others.
But my plan, I believe, would focus on prevention. We need to focus more on deterring these diseases like diabetes that is 30 percent of our Medicare cost."
And the Governor believes we can institute Universal Healthcare without raising taxes.
"My precepts in foreign policy are this. I think this president characterizes this. Being stubborn isn't a foreign policy, and power without diplomacy is blind. I would focus my presidency on dealing with the real threats to America -- international terrorism, nuclear proliferation. I've dealt directly with North Korea...I would deal with issues like Darfur. Why is it that America does not care about Africa, about genocide, about issues relating to enormous amount of deaths that are brought forth by international poverty?"
Governor Richardson strongly opposes any effort to limit the number of Presidential primary debates and believes this is the best way for the American people to accurately evaluate the candidates.
"I am also looking forward to future debates where we can discuss important domestic concerns that my administration would address- education, immigration, growing our economy, and helping America's middle class."